FROM Tamar Galatzan
Adult Education on the LAUSD Chopping Block A program supporters call part of the "fabric of Los Angeles" will be on the chopping block at tomorrow's meeting of the Los Angeles School Board. It's a program that goes back to 1887, has provided LA with skilled workers since the post-World War II economic boom, and shows immigrant parents how to help their kids do their homework. But Superintendent John Deasy says he needs all $200 million to help fill the gap in his core programs in K-12 education.
School Reform and LA Unified's Public School Choice Plan LA Unified has more charter schools than any other district in the US. That's because of the Public School Choice plan, created to improve schools through competition by allowing outside groups, as well as internal teams, to bid for control of new and under-performing schools. Now the rules have been changed by the elected School Board, to give priority to insiders, meaning the District's own administrators and teachers. As head of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, AJ Duffy was an outspoken opponent of charter schools. Now he's applying to become a charter school operator. He wants to hire teachers from the Crescendo charter schools, which were closed down when administrators ordered teachers to cheat on standardized tests. We speak with Duffy, educators and administrators.
Where's the Outrage? Governor Brown's failure to get tax-hike extensions on the June ballot has created an atmosphere of resignation about what's called an "all-cuts" budget. That would mean reductions of $26 billion across the board and, for LA Unified potential cuts of between $500 and $600 million. After years of cuts in bureaucracy and teacher lay-offs, what would that mean for the nation's second largest school district? John Deasy, who will take over as Superintendent later this month, has told the elected school board he'll accept a 17 percent reduction in salary from $300,000 to $275,000.
The Aftermath of Shooting at Local Schools El Camino High, eight other public schools and several private schools were shut down for several hours yesterday as police searched for a gunman. An El Camino High policeman had been shot off campus by a man who still hasn't been captured. He's described as white, in his late 40's, with a grayish pony tail, wearing a black jacket and jeans. The police officer was wearing body armor, and is resting at home. The shooting at Gardena High is a case of a different order. A student brought a gun into a classroom, and it went off when he put his backpack down on a desk. One student was shot in the neck and yet another in the head. One remains in critical condition.
From LA to Sacramento, New Uncertainty in Public Education The LA Unified School District has a new Superintendent. He's John Deasy , who's been assistant to retiring Ramon Cortines for the past few months. The vote of the elected school board was six to zero, with one abstention. In Sacramento, there's new uncertainty about the State Board of Education , completely revamped by Governor Brown. Out went reformers, including Ted Michell and Ben Austin. Newcomers include the well-regarded former Long Beach Superintendent Carl Cohn, Michael Kirst who served during Brown's previous administration and Patricia Rucker, lobbyist for the California Teachers' Association.
Getting Rid of Bad Teachers On Sunday, the LA Times reported on how difficult it is to fire a teacher in California, even when evidence of misbehavior appears to be strong. In one case, a civil jury agreed with a school principal who fired a teacher for alleged repeated sexual harassment. But despite the jury's verdict, a special commission ruled that the teacher could keep his job. That case began seven years ago and it's still in the courts. We speak with Jason Song, who authored the article, and others about the obstacles facing school boards who want to fire teachers for misbehavior or incompetence in the classroom.
L.A. School Board Readies for Budget Battle California faces a deficit upwards of 15 billion dollars. Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget would increase education spending by 193 million—but that won’t pay cost of living increases and some special funding is being reduced. For the LA Unified School District , that means a 353 million dollar shortfall.
Money and Politics in Public Education After March primaries that drew less than 10 percent of the vote, two LA School Board run-off elections are scheduled for May 15. Mayor Villaraigosa and the LA Teachers' Union say they want to work together, but they're spending big money on different candidates. The current board has opposed the Mayor's effort at partial control of public education . He's backing 37-year old newcomer Tamar Galatzan , a deputy district attorney, against 68-year incumbent Jon Lauritzen , a retired teacher. Both the candidates he supports must win for him to get a more sympathetic majority. We hear from both candidates about charter schools, drop-out rates and education reform.
Trump, the GOP and the rule of law Conservatives — and some Republicans — are criticizing the President for "the mess he made" in firing FBI Director James Comey. We hear about a potential successor, the possibility of "obstruction of justice" and the constitutional separation of powers.
The free-flowing leaks in the Trump White House President Obama tried to clamp down on leakers, but the Trump Administration is besieged almost as never before. Are the "anonymous sources" partisans or worried professionals? Are they endangering the republic or performing a public service?
Should we 'hack the climate' to fight global warming? The Paris Agreements won't be enough to reverse global warming, whether President Trump pulls the US out or not. Is it time to try altering the atmosphere by what's called "geoengineering?" We hear about unintended consequences, international relations… and ethics.